We rushed to get out of the house to get to Placa Jaume I, where we planned to see the human towers, another traditional La Merce event. It started drizzling as we walked quickly to get there in time. We arrived and saw a few people, mostly tourists, holding umbrellas and looking at maps and just milling about. Umm...Where is everyone? Where are the human towers?
It turned out, somebody (ahem..me), didn't pay attention to the dates on the schedule. Kind of important if you ask me! I'd blame it on the language barrier, but we have an English version of the program! It turns out they human tower event is on Wednesday, so more on that later!
The Gothic Quarter
Monday is a pretty quiet day for La Merce festival, perhaps giving everyone a chance to recover a bit, so despite the drizzle and the fact that we did not have an umbrella, we decided to explore the Gothic Quater of Barcelona and just get lost. We had been in this neighborhood when we took our walking tour, but did not have a chance to move at our own pace. This time, we had no direction in mind, so we just let Kian tell us at each intersection whether to go left, right, or straight. It worked well, and we got quite lost as we intended.
If you visit Barcelona for longer than just a couple of days, you should really plan at least half a day to just meander in the streets of the Gothic Quarter. We saw lots of small, colorful stores, many narrow streets with cool arches, some neat street art, and a few setups for La Merce events.
When we took our free walking tour, our guide explained why some restaurants in Barcelona offer what is known as a menu of the day for lunch, or as the locals call it a "menu del dia". Menu del dia was the result of many workers complaining that eating lunch was getting too expensive. If a restaurant offers this menu, it generally means you will get a 3 course meal, with a drink of your choice for just €10. It's a great deal especially if you go to a quality restaurant.
During the same tour, our guide told us that one of the favorite restaurants amongst visitors and locals that offers menu del dia is El Casal. We were only about 10 minutes away from the restaurant around lunch time, so we decided to check it out.
If you want the menu del dia, you have two choices for each course, so between the two grown-ups we tried all the items, and mmm...we were not disappointed. They also have a large normal menu, with very good prices on sandwiches. Add this to your Barcelona restaurants list to visit, but make sure you check their hours and show up early, as our guide had informed us if you show up late and want the menu del dia they may just give you whatever they have left.